Rheana Gardner
Self-portrait as OdalisqueSelf-portrait as LadySelf-portrait as Venus ISelf-portrait as Bather of ValpinconSelf-portrait as Rokeby VenusSelf-portrait as Bather ISelf-portrait as SimonettaSelf-portrait as La FornarinaSelf-portrait as Venus IISelf-portrait as Venus of Urbino
To Carve & To Crave
Face lifts, nose jobs, breast implants, liposuction, collagen injections-the body in the 21st century has become endlessly mutable, and surgical alteration is now an accepted part of American culture. This series of self-portraits explores the changing definitions and standards of female beauty. Using myself as a symbol for the modern woman, I deconstruct and manipulate iconic masterpieces of Western art by layering text and illustrations of cosmetic surgery procedures in order to challenge society’s perception of “attainable” beauty.

I use a camera as a mirror for self-reflection and as a tool for social commentary. To be able to bare one’s flesh means that you must embrace vulnerability, digest it and transform it into a creative force. I use my body as a prop; my flesh becomes a canvas, allowing me to express my views on the world around me. I find it empowering to use my body to produce something positive that breaks down boundaries regarding the idealization and representation of the female figure.

Each image is created in-camera utilizing a Kodak slide projector and collage. Shooting myself with chrome film and a 35mm camera to produce a slide, I project the image onto sheets of clear plexiglass; then I proceed to apply collage and paint to generate the final image. Each creation is then re-photographed with chrome film and a 4x5 camera, scanned and printed digitally. None of these images have been digitally altered.